Caister Academic Press

Long Non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) and Cancer

Jessica M. Silva and David I. Smith
from: Non-coding RNAs and Epigenetic Regulation of Gene Expression: Drivers of Natural Selection (Edited by: Kevin V. Morris). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2012)


There are numerous non-coding transcripts in addition to those housekeeping transcripts (ribosomal RNAs and transfer RNAs) that participate in the processes of protein production within the cells. These include the large number of small RNAs such as microRNAs, piwiRNAs and snoRNAs. In addition to these relatively small transcripts there are also considerably longer non-coding transcripts that also play important roles within the genome. These long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) can be differentiated from each other based upon where they are derived from within the genome. For instance, there are intronic lncRNAs (transcribed between exons of genes), intergenic lncRNAs (transcribed in the space between genes), and lncRNAs that are more complex as they overlap both intron and exon of a coding gene. Each of these lncRNAs may also be in the sense or in the antisense direction. The list of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) that are associated with diseases is rapidly increasing. Some lncRNAs have been found to be aberrantly expressed in various diseases including psoriasis, mental disorders, autism, and also cancer. The list of lncRNAs associated with cancer is increasing. However, relatively little is known about the precise functions of most cancer associated lncRNAs, but of what is known suggest that these long non-coding transcripts function in many different ways within cells and promote cancer development and progression. We will review what is known about the role that some of the lncRNAs play in cancer
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